Nature’s Depths

Walking through nature with John Palka, a neuroscientist who loves plants and ponders big questions

Magnolia buds in Seattle

The Buds of Spring

Exploration

While the colors of the winter months are mostly muted, spring brings fresh greens, pinks, yellows, and soon the full, vibrant palette of freshly emerged flowers. Where do all those fresh leaves and brilliant flowers come from? The buds.

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Drops of sap forming, Eastman Nature Center

The Sap Is Rising

Exploration

Among the annual changes that occur in the deciduous forests of the Upper Midwest, the Northeast, and many parts of Canada is the extravagant production of the sweet sap of sugar maples (Acer saccharum, Family Sapindaceae) and a handful of other tree species.

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Trees through the Seasons

Exploration

Over and over on Nature’s Depths we have seen that a forest is in many respects like a super-organism, with startlingly many interacting components ranging from towering trees to soil microorganisms that we can only detect with a microscope or with molecular techniques. When we go walking, however, it is the trees that largely make up the forest of our experience, and that experience changes with the seasons.

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